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The Little Rock, Ark., school board apparently has met conditions set by the state board of education for receiving $15 million in desegregation-related funds needed to avoid a cash-flow crisis in the district. (See Education Week, Jan. 24, 1990.)

The Little Rock board voted last week not to appeal a federal-court order that places a cap on the amount of money the state must contribute toward desegregation efforts in Little Rock and two other school districts named in a school-desegregation case.

The state board had initially indicated that it would not release the funds because the court-approved settlement is being appealed by the other districts involved as well as by lawyers representing black plaintiffs in the case.

But earlier last week the state board voted to release Little Rock's share of the funds if its school board agreed not to appeal the ruling or to seek additional state funds beyond those promised in the agreement.

It was not clear last week when the state funds would be made available to Little Rock, whose officials have said that schools in the district may be forced to close next month if they are unable to raise enough cash to meet the payroll.


A Roman Catholic elementary school in Chicago has begun testing 6th- through 8th-graders for drug use, amid support from parents and concern from civil-liberties advocates.

St. Sabina Academy, on Chicago's South Side, last fall announced plans to test teachers, administrators, and students in the upper grades. (See Education Week, Oct. 18, 1990.)

Twenty-five students were chosen at random for the first round of tests, and a lottery will be held each quarter of the school year to select a new group, school officials said. Any student testing positive for drug use will be provided counseling, according to the pastor of St. Sabina Church, the Rev. Michael Pfleger.

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has called St. Sabina's testing policy "outrageous." But because St. Sabina's is a private school, the aclu has announced it has no grounds to challenge the policy in court.


State officials in Michigan last week announced plans to file a lawsuit against five nonpublic schools that have refused to supply the state with information about enrollment, curriculum, and teacher qualifications.

The state's reporting requirements have been challenged by several Christian schools in recent years. Last fall, a state judge dismissed a lawsuit by four Christian schools challenging the constitutionality of the reporting requirement. (See Education Week, Nov. 29, 1989.)

Last year, Michigan's superintendent of public instruction, Donald L. Bemis, held administrative hearings on the five schools: Heritage Christian School in Pontiac, Billy Mauer Academy in Madison Heights, Pontiac Christian School in Pontiac, Pontiac Montessori Center in Southfield, and the Springfield Christian Academy in Clarkston.

In November, Mr. Bemis found the schools in violation of the reporting law, and gave them 60 days to comply. Each of the schools has refused. The lawsuit will be filed within the next few weeks, state officials said.

Leaders of some church schools have said they hope the case ends up before the state supreme court, where they believe the law will be struck down. In 1986, a divided court upheld the reporting requirement.


An often bitter dispute for control of St. Stephen's School in Alexandria, Va., has been settled by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia's school system and former board members of the school.

In 1988, the Church Schools of the Diocese of Virginia sought to merge the St. Stephen's board with that of a nearby girls' school to form one coeducational school. When board members of St. Stephen's objected, diocesan officials sought to replace the board, and the matter ended up in court. (See Education Week, Feb. 10, 1988.)

Under the terms of the settlement, John T. Hazel Jr., a developer who was the former board chairman of St. Stephen's, will be repaid $1.4 million in construction loans to the school, while the Church Schools will retain control.

Proceeds from the sale of a lower-school campus will be split between the Church Schools and a nonprofit organization controlled by a group led by Mr. Hazel.

Mr. Hazel's group has also purchased the Flint Hill Preparatory School in Oakton, Va., and has announced plans to transform it into a premier private school.

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